Isham Bladeworks Blackstar Voted Best New Slipjoint/Non-Locking Knife 2018

Presented by: Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpeners

We are pleased to announce that the Isham Bladeworks Blackstar is the KnifeNews Readers’ Choice for Best New Slipjoint/Non-Locking Knife 2018. Elijah Isham’s first solo project impressed our readers in a contested category that also included the Great Eastern Cutlery #44, Kizer ZipSlip, Manly WASP, and Three Rivers Manufacturing Viator.

Leave it to Elijah Isham to make a slipjoint flipper knife. When he announced the Blackstar as the pilot project for his own label, Isham promised an EDC knife like no other – and he delivered. The Blackstar embodies the idea of a portable, people-friendly, non-locking knife – kind of like a good old-fashioned traditional in one sense, but miles apart from those knives in terms of materials, construction, and visual appeal.

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The Blackstar sports the same modern materials, the same you’d expect to see on the latest release from We Knife Co. (who, indeed, functioned as OEM for this project): G-10, carbon fiber, a ball bearing pivot and M390 blade steel. The clip point blade again hearkens back to traditional knife design but, in a bit of knife design sleight-of-hand, also seems exceedingly up to date and trendy. A detent-based, non-locking retention blade (borrowed from Serge Panchenko) keeps to the slipjoint-style design while still offering the satisfying, snappy deployment we expect from modern flippers – and of course the prismatic, multifaceted handle was a dash of surreal flair.

It’s hard not to recognize an Isham design by just looks alone. While some of his designs lean heavily in the direction of the artistic, there are several others who work just as good as they look. The Blackstar is pure utility through and through. Lightweight, durable, and easy to use, it’s the most accessible creation from Isham yet – and there will be more to follow. Isham’s already announced his follow-up, the Abstruse, and of course he will continue to collaborate with other companies as well. He also tells us that the Blackstar itself will be an ongoing offering. “You’ll continue to see the design around for awhile in multiple variations of materials, construction and lock mechanisms.”

Visit on Monday, December 3rd, to find out the winner of the Readers’ Choice Award for Best New High-End Knife 2018 (MSRP of $300 or more).


Monday, November 26: Best New Tactical Fixed Blade 2018 (WINNER: ZU Bladeworx Shrapnel)

Tuesday, November 27: Best New Fixed Blade for EDC 2018 (WINNER: TOPS Little Bugger)

Wednesday, November 28: Best New Outdoors Fixed Blade 2018 (WINNER: Benchmade 200 Puukko)

Thursday, November 29: Best Knife Upgrade 2018 (WINNER: Ontario RAT 2 in D2)

Friday, November 30: Best New Slipjoint/Non-Locking Knife 2018 (WINNER: Isham Bladeworks Blackstar)

Monday, December 3: Best New High-End Knife 2018 (MSRP of $300 or more) (WINNER: Zero Tolerance 0470)

Tuesday, December 4: Best New Value Folder 2018 (MSRP of $100 or less) (WINNER: CIVIVI Baklash)

Wednesday, December 5: Best New Manual Folder 2018 (WINNER: Spyderco Chaparral FRN)

Thursday, December 6: Most Innovative New Knife 2018 (WINNER: WE Knife Co. Double Helix)

Friday, December 7: Best Overall New for 2018 Lineup (WINNER: Spyderco)